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President calls for DPP cooperation in aftermath of mass protest

President calls for DPP cooperation in aftermath of mass protest

In the wake of the weekend's large-scale march against President Ma Ying-jeou's China policies, Ma has said he hopes to hold talks with opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and step up bipartisan cooperation on issues of major concern to the public, including the economy and corruption, Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chih said Monday.
Wang made the remarks to reporters at the Presidential Office after Tsai led a demonstration by tens of thousands of people in Taipei Saturday to criticize Ma's China policy ahead of a Nov. 3 visit by China's top negotiator with Taiwan -- Chen Yunlin, president of the quasi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).
According to the Presidential Office spokesman, Ma will continue to invite Tsai as he has done in the past to discuss major national issues, such as anti-corruption efforts, at the Presidential Office.
Concerning Tsai's request to hold a debate with Ma on Taiwan's sovereignty, Wang said it was unnecessary because Taiwan's people had made a choice on the issue in March's presidential election in which Ma was elected by an overwhelming majority, defeating the DPP's candidate Frank Hsieh.
The DPP, which is pro-Taiwan independence, had also favored improving ties with long-time rival China, but wanted a slower and more cautious approach. Since Ma came into office in May, the DPP has criticized Ma for moving too fast and making too many concessions in efforts to build stronger ties with China.
Ma, however, has pledged to safeguard the Republic of China's independent sovereignty from China and since the weekend rally, has reassured the public that he would not sell out Taiwan. He has insisted his policies are necessary to boost Taiwan's economy and achieve peace across the Taiwan Strait.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan has told the president that she would meet Tsai and exchange views on cross-strait relations with her, said Wang.
Speaking at a news conference later Monday, DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang criticized spokesman Wang's remarks as "extremely arrogant" and said that the DPP will host anti-China activities during Chen's five-day visit in Taiwan.
"President Ma has the full responsibility to clearly explain his stance in cross-strait dealings and address the concerns raised by the protesters attending the weekend's demonstration in Taipei, " Cheng argued.
Demonstrators of the Saturday protest march demanded Ma specifically define whether Taiwan is a nation or an area, whether Taiwan's 23 million people have the right to determine the country's fate, or whether China should apologize and compensate Taiwan's consumers and companies over its melamine-tainted milk products sold to Taiwan.
When Chen is in Taiwan, the DPP will launch anti-China protests during the day time and hold vigils at night, Cheng said.
National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Chao-ming on Monday pledged to protect Chen's personal safety as part of the government's efforts to guarantee a smooth proceeding of a second round of negotiations between Chen and his Taiwanese counterpart -- Chairman Chiang Pin-kung of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).
The National Police Agency (NPA) will deploy some 7,000 policemen to ensure Chen's safety, NPA Director-General Wang Cho-chiun said later on Monday.
Chen and Chiang are expected to discuss the expansion of cross-strait tourism and travel links as a follow-up to their historic meeting in Beijing in June.


Updated : 2021-05-07 22:16 GMT+08:00